Express News Service
From making a strong comeback in coastal Karnataka by winning 16 of the 19 seats to raising its tally from 4 to 12 in H-K region, BJP scores well in state
Lingayat, Mahadayi issues fail to help Cong
Congress’ strategy of dividing Lingayat votebank in its stronghold — Mumbai Karnataka region — has not worked in its favour because the region has helped the BJP cross the 100-seat mark.The BJP has won three out of every five seats in the region. Even Mahadayi water-sharing dispute has failed to harm the party as it has won majority of the seats in the Malaprabha basin. When BJP formed the government in 2008, it had won 36 out of 50 seats by winning every district in the region. In 2013, the BJP had swept Vijayapura, Bagalkot, Gadag, Haveri and Dharwad, and had won majority of seats in Belagavi.
However, it failed to sustain the momentum in the 2013 polls owing to a three-way split in the BJP and a vertical split in the Lingayat votes. The party’s tally slipped to 13 and the Congress won 31 seats in the region. When the BJP projected Yeddyurappa, a strong Lingayat leader, as its CM candidate, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah made an attempt to split the strong base of the saffron party by supporting the demand seeking separate religion status for the Lingayats. The BJP, however, kept away from the issue, and supported the stand taken by the Veerashaiva Mahasabha.
BJP gains at Cong expense in H-K region
The BJP’s tally in Hyderabad-Karnataka region rose to 12 from four in 2013 and Congress which had triumphed in 20 constituencies five years ago could manage to win 15 seats this time. Political pundits attribute the change to a number of factors ranging from Lingayat dharma issue to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s campaign.While JD(S) managed to retain its tally of four seats, none of the other regional parties could open their accounts in the region which comprises Bidar, Kalaburagi, Yadgir, Raichur and Koppal.
Central University of Karnataka registrar and political science professor Chandrakant Yatnoor said the separate religion status for Lingayats was a dominant election issue. Division of Veerashiva-Lingayat community backfired the ruling Congress which is evident from the defeat of minister Sharanaprakash Patil in Sedam and another Lingayat leader B R Patil in Aland, he said.The fact that the Congress did not heed to suggestion from veteran leader Mallikarjun Kharge also resulted in the lacklustre performance of the party. Kharge was not in favour of the Congress move to field turncoat Ashok Kheni.
Congress bites dust in Central Karnataka
The Congress party was routed in Central Karnataka districts of Chitradurga, Davangere and Shivamogga, whereas in Ballari it managed to save the face by winning six of the eight seats.
The grand old party was shown the door in Chitradurga and Davangere districts whereas in Shivamogga, the craddle of socialist movements, it won one seat. The BJP which did badly in the 2013 polls due to the division of votes between Karnataka Janatha Party of Yeddyurappa and BSR Congress of B Sriramulu, showed its real power and won 20 out of 30 seats. The Congress settled for just 10 seats.
The BJP won Chitradurga, Holalkere, Hiriyur, Hosadurga and Molakalmuru constituencies in Chitradurga district and in Davangere, it won Davangere North, Honnali, Channagiri, Mayakonda, Jagalur and Harapanahalli constituencies. The BJP regained it bastion of Shivamogga by winning Thirthahalli, Shivamogga city, Shivamogga Rural, Shikaripura, Sagar and Sorab constituencies. In Ballari where the BJP was expected to do good failed miserably by winning only Ballari city, Siraguppa and Kudligi constituencies.
On the other hand, the Congress won Hadagali, Hagaribommanahalli, Vijayanagar, Kampli, Ballari Rural and Sandur constituencies in Ballari, Challakere in Chitradurga, Davangere North and Harihar in Davangere districts and Bhadravathi in Shivamogga district. Whereas the JD(S) which had won nearly five seats in 2013 failed to open account in the region. However, it gave a tough fight in Chitradurga and Challakere constituencies.BJP national president Amit Shah’s gambit of fielding B Sriramulu from Molakalmuru constituency reaped rich dividends for the BJP as it consolidated Nayaka votes not only in Molakalmuru but in Davangere, Chitradurga and Ballari districts where the community has a sizable presence.
A clean sweep for BJP in coastal Karnakata
BJP made a strong come back in coastal Karnataka by winning in 16 of the 19 seats. In the region considered a strong bastion of BJP and a laboratory of Hindutva, the saffron party had faced a crushing defeat at the hands of Congress in the 2013 assembly election when it had won just three out of 19. This time, they successfully managed to reverse the results despite rebellion in many constituencies.
Prominent Congress leaders from the region who had to bite the dust include former ministers B Ramanath Rai (Bantwal), K Abhaychandra Jain (Moodbidri) and five-time Belathangady MLA K Vasanth Bangera.
Interestingly, a majority of successful BJP candidates are first-time winners. Harish Poonja, a 35-year-old, emerged as a giant killer by defeating Congress’ K Vasanth Bangera by a margin of more than 10,000 votes. Umanath Kotian (Moodbidri) won by a huge margin of over 30,000 votes, while Rajesh Naik (Bantwal), Sanjeev Mathandoor (Puttur) won by 19,477 votes.BJP’s aggressive campaigning which primary revolved around issues like murders of BJP workers, Congress’ minority appeasement, achievements of Narendra Modi government, among others yielded much desired results for the party.
It successfully managed to paint Congress as a party which is pro-minority and ‘anti-Hindu’ which appears to have struck a chord with the voters.
Congress suffered a shocking defeat in Bantwal from where former minister B Ramanath Rai was elected six times. SDPI staying away from the election to stop BJP’s victory did not work. BJP had left no stone unturned to defeat Rai by raking up the issues like murder of RSS worker Sharat Madiwala and discontinuation of mid-day facility to a private school run by RSS leader Kalladka Prabhakar Bhat.
In Udupi, V Sunil Kumar (Karkala), Halaady Srinivas Shetty (Kundapur), Lalaji Mendon (Kapu) won by a huge margin.
JD(S) wave washes out Siddu, Congress
The JD(S) swept the polls in the Old Mysore region, even washing away outgoing Chief Minister Siddaramaiah and a few others in his home turf. The region, considered a stronghold of the Congress all these years, witnessed a keen contest between Congress and JD(S) this time.JD(S) won 22 seats out of 40 in this region (excluding Bengaluru City, and Bengaluru Rural district), which includes all seven seats in Mandya district and six out seven seats in Hassan.
Ministers in the Siddaramaiah cabinet, H C Mahadevappa, A Manju and T B Jayachandra also lost to JD(S). The rebel JD(S) MLAs N Cheluvarayanaswamy, Balakrishna , Ramesh Bandisidde Gowda had contested on Congress tickets but they too lost badly in Mandya and Hassan districts.In Mysuru, G T Devegowda of JD(S) knocked out Siddaramaiah in Chamundeshwari constituency by a margin of 36,042 thousand votes. The JD(S) which had won three seats in 2013, improved its tally to five winning Periyapatna, Hunsur, T Narasipur and K R Nagar apart from Chamundeshwari.
The Congress saved its face winning five out of six seats in Kolar district and four out of five seats in Chikkaballapur district. The JD(S) managed to win two seats in both districts.Though the BJP managed to retain both seats in Kodagu, it sprung a surprise winning Gundlupet in Chamrajnagar and Nanjangud (SC), Krishnaraja and Chamaraja.
Congress fares well in Bengaluru region
BJP may have emerged the single largest party in the state assembly elections, but neither of it worked in the state’s capital. Out of 26 Bengaluru constituencies, Congress not only won 13, all six ministers from the city in Siddaramiah’s cabinet won.In 2013, out of 28 assembly constituencies, the Congress had won 13, BJP 12 and the JD(S) three. This time, after PM Modi visited Bengaluru thrice, during which he addressed rallies and held roadshows, Shah too participated in a roadshow in Bengaluru, the grand old party has done quite well.
In his last roadshow, Shah who covered Sarvagnanagar, Shanthinagar and Shivajinagar, appealed to voters for a “Haris, Roshan Baig and George mukt Bengaluru” who represent the three assembly segments. Forget getting rid of them, people elected the three Congress leaders with handsome margins.
The other three ministers of the Siddaramaiah cabinet, M Krishnappa, Krishna Byregowda and Ramalinga Reddy are also back. Two MLAs, Basavaraj from KR Pura and S T Somashekar from Yeswanthpur, who masterminded the Congress-JD(S) coalition in the BBMP council too have won.
Congress retained most seats they won in 2013, except Govindarajnagar and Chickpet. But it made up my opening its account in Chamarajpet and Pulikeshinagar.
With inputs from Ashwini M Sripad, G Subhash Chandra, K Shivakumar, Pramodkumar Vaidya, Ramkrishna Badseshi and Vincent D’souza